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2/6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry


GraemeClarke

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Morning

Im struggling to understand what the

2/6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry

were doing on Sunday 6 October 1918.

Researching a man KiA this day.

Would anyone have the War Diary, at all, please,

Many thanks

Graeme

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CWGC have 85768 Foulk, 85777 Friend and 47210 Tyas died on that date - which man are you researching ?.

From what I can find they were supposed to be on garrison duty at Calais.

All 3 men have service records on Ancestry but apart from showing that the bodies had been exhumed and re-buried they add no extra info re place of death or reason other than KIA.

Craig

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Hi Craig

Foulk, SDGW says KiA

You see now why Im stuggling.

I think they were to be disbanded and were in camp somewhere so why the deaths ?

Regards,

Graeme

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You see now why Im stuggling.

I think they were to be disbanded and were in camp somewhere so why the deaths ?

It's a good mystery.

Craig

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I am currently researching the 2/6 DLI, the Garrison Guard title was dropped in mid 1918 and they were sent to the front. This may explain the casualties. There are explanations to that effect on the web site.

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Morning DB

Are you able to say, from your research, what was happening when 'my man' was killed ??

Regards,

Graeme

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Hi Graeme

Sorry no I haven't got as far as what happened on specific days. My reply was as a pointer in the right direction ie the dropping of the Garrison Guard title and the 2/6th DLI then being moved to the front as a possible explination of why there were three KIA's rather than them being in camp.

I am new to the forum having being pointed in its direction by forum member Steve Morse. Steve has provided me with some info as detailed on the Long trail website http://www.1914-1918.net/59div.htm which explains the move and the battles they were involved in as part of the 59th (2nd North Midland) Division. One period covers 2nd October - 11 November 1918. This may be what you are looking for??.

Having had a quick search through the forum there are snippets of informaton regarding the 2/6th DLI that will take some work to tie up. For my part my Granddad served with the 2/6th DLI having been transfered from the Notts and Derby Regiment. So far the information provided by Steve Morse and other forum members point to the 2/6th being formed of men who were either not initially fit for front line duty through illness or injury and were therefore transferred to a Garrison battalion. When they became desperate for men at the front the Garrison title was dropped and they were moved to the front to fight.

I am particularly interested in trying to find out if there was a common theme amoung the men that were transferred to this battalion as there is some indication that the regimental army number series 252---- may provide some clue. My Grandad's number was 252443 and his papers can be found on Ancestry

Regards

Dave

Thanks to Steve Morse and the other forum members that provided answers to him and therefore started me on this trail

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I am particularly interested in trying to find out if there was a common theme amoung the men that were transferred to this battalion as there is some indication that the regimental army number series 252---- may provide some clue. My Grandad's number was 252443 and his papers can be found on Ancestry

The 252XXX range of 6th DLI men is a one I've been trying to tie down for a while as it's difficult to find the commonality as to why they were allocated numbers in this range (whenever I think I've a handle on it something else comes along) although they do seem , in the main, to be men who had been through the DLI reserve Bn's due to illness or injury and weren't generally returned to the front. A lot of them were released to civilian employment in about 1917.

Men in the 251XXX range seem to be mainly men who were injured but likely to return to the front line battalion to fight again.

Craig

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Hi Craig

I beleive you provided a reply to Steve Morse along the same lines in reply to a post recently. Steve posted as I had contacted him directly with regard to my Grandad's war history. It was due to the replies he recieved that led me to this forum. I always believed that he served through out the war on the frontline but Steves research shows that he probably didn't serve overseas until June 1918 with the 2/6th DLI when the Garrison Guard title was dropped and they were sent to the front. I am interested in finding out what prevented him from serving on the front line until 1918 as he joined Notts and Derby TF battalion in Oct 1914. He is listed as having a pension for a chest condition but was demobilised at the end of the war and not due to being unfit before. I beleive as he was posted to a Garrison battalion he had been deemed not fit for the front line until they were desperate for men late in the war. He was an underground mine worker in 1911 aged 17 as a horse driver and after the war finished his working life as a shotfirer in a clay mine. It would be interesting if others have a similar service history as my Granddad with the 252xxx number especially as there is renewed interest due to the anniversary of the out break of war.

Regards

Dave

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It would be interesting if others have a similar service history as my Granddad with the 252xxx number especially as there is renewed interest due to the anniversary of the out break of war.

There are a number of Notts & Derby men with similar numbers to your Grandads - my list isn't complete as it's not part of the sequence I had really looked at yet but I'll see what I can come up with for surrounding men.

252439 Tom Redfern was originally 6th N&D, 21st N&D and then 2/6th DLI

2334, 252471 Stephen W Smith was originally 7th N&D, 21st N&D and then 28th DLI (although it appears he was 2/6th between the 21st N&D & 28th DLI - his records are unclear)

252487 Charles Allsopp was originally 5th N&D,2/5th N&D, 21st N&D, 2/6th DLI and then 5th (Reserve) Bn DLI - between 2/6th and 5th (Reserve) Bn's he had Class W reserve service.

It looks like the men were transferred to 2/6th DLI in and around October 1917.

Craig

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Thanks for those men and numbers for the 2/6th DLI, as you have stated they all have in common a Battalion in the Notts and Derby Regiment. I have looked at their service histories on Ancestry and have found a few things of interest.

The men I looked at were:

Charles Allsopp 2235 5th Notts & Derby 252487 2/6th DLI

Tom Redfern 6th Bn N&D res 2548 21st Bn N&D 331099 2/6th Bn DLI 252439

Stephen W Smith 7th Bn N&D 26th DLI 252471

Edgar Sansom 21st Bn N&D 2/6th DLI 2/9th DLI 252483

All of them joined the 21st Bn Notts and Derby Regiment on the same date 1.1.17 which is when the Battalion formed, three were transferred in a war office or war department letter (secret). The same entry appears on my Grandad's documents. This letter does not appear to be on Stephen W Smith's record.

A question has already been asked in relation to this entry http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=210734&hl=%2Bsecret+%2Bletter

The five including my Grandad transferred to the 2/6th DLI between 20/9/17 and 3/10/17

Charles Allsopp has almost the same service history as my Grandad 5th N&D, 2/5th N&D, 9th Home Bn (Attached) 21st N&D followed the the transfer to 2/6th DLI. He only misses out on 1/5th N&D. I have a couple of group photos of what may be the 21st N&D men that I will post on a new topic to see if any one can identify other men.

Where the mens medical papers are available they are all med cat B1.

I have searched Ancestry for others but it is a little like looking for a needle in a haystack, I am interested in finding how many were transferred in the letter (secret) for which there seems to be no clear answer.

For anyone that wishes to compare my Grandad's papers are also on Ancestry John Brown 3226 Notts and Derby Regiment 252443 2/6th DLI

Regards

Dave

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All of them joined the 21st Bn Notts and Derby Regiment on the same date 1.1.17 which is when the Battalion formed, three were transferred in a war office or war department letter (secret). The same entry appears on my Grandad's documents. This letter does not appear to be on Stephen W Smith's record.

You may never know - the ltr was likely a generic order issued to all of the provisional battalions to clear out the men fit for service.

The 2/6th DLI numbers include men from from other regiments mixed in amongst the N&D men so short of locating records for each of those men (which isn't going to happen) you'll never be able to tie down the number moved to the DLI.

Craig

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Hi Craig

As I have already found locating documents is not easy and I wouldn't expect to find every DLI man, however if the letter is only contained in the transfers of the 21st Bn that would be interesting. I might be flogging a dead horse but if I don't try I will always have that little niggle.

Dave

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Cannot remember if I have already mentioned this but all seem to be TF men who served in 21st (Home Service) N&D and then 2/6th DLI - both in the same home service brigade.

Looks as though they all served in various N&D battalions until the 21st was formed specifically for home service men. Then for some reason or other, they all moved to 2/6th DLI in same Brigade which was a Garrison guard battalion. Once in France the Army desperate for men changed the designation of 2/6th. Possibly some men then had the option to transfer back to a home service battalion (but doubtful). They had elected to go overseas by signing the form and getting the letter.

I would think that any man who 'volunteered' for overseas service would have had a letter so many thousands to search for. Had a quick look at my British Regiments 1914-18 and most (if not all) had 'Home service' battalions. Its looks as though during the re-organisation of the Army in early 1918, many 'garrison' battalions ended up in the front line.

Might be worth sending a PM to Mike Briggs who is the expert on 6th battalion Nott's & Derby Regiment. He may have something on 6th battalion SLL men (sick, lame and lazy as we used to say)

Regards

Steve

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Then for some reason or other, they all moved to 2/6th DLI in same Brigade which was a Garrison guard battalion.

Maybe that reason was contained in the (secret) letter, as documented in the three other mens service records. When the question was asked in the seperate forum post it obvioulsy caused some puzzlement and nobody was able to provide a definate answer other than:

The secret part is not about the individual but about the content of the whole letter, which would have dealt with a wider subject. Normally when these letters are quoted they are associated with an Army Council Instruction. The letter was sent out by AG 2a. a branch of the Adjutant - General's department dealing with the infantry.

Therefore I absolutly get the fact the entry is not about the individual ie my Grandad but the content of the whole letter. That letter is referanced in three other mens records that were transferred from the 21st Bn Notts and Derby Regiment to the 2/6th DLI. So maybe it said clear out the SLL men but the fact is it is documented in mens records and it seems like somebody wanted to keep the content secret. I have seen other records where transfers have taken place with no mention of (secret) in the entry.

My Grandad volunteered for the TF in October 1914 and didn't wait until he had to enlist ie Conscription. Why he enlisted in the TF I don't know, he went to the local recruitment office, maybe with his mates. He also signed the Army Form E. 624 to say he agreed to serve in any place outside the UK in the event of a National Emergency. He signed this under his original 4 digit TF number and his unit was listed as 5th reserve Bn Notts and Derby Regmt. Hardly implies a man shirking his responsibilities.

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Dave

Your Grandfather could have enlisted in a 'service' battalion (Kitchener's volunteers) in August but instead went to a TF battalion were he did not have to serve overseas. It is impossible to say when he signed his E.624. From my reading of the papers, he was in the 2/6th DLI when the letter was processed 20/9/1917 Durham L I, 2/6th battalion, (Durham is difficult to read but there) Therefore we can assume that the men signed said letter so that they could serve in other than a Home service battalion after being moved to 2/6th and not whilst in 5th reserve. In fact he was in the 21st prior to 2/6th Bn.

There were many reasons why a man did not serve overseas and 'shirking' was only one of them. he may have had a pre-existing condition or a job which made him more useful at home. Fred Greaves VC was turned down a number of times as he had seriously injured himself some year before but eventually got in during early 1915 and served with 9th Bn throughout the war.

I do not know if any of the letters survived but in the Army all papers were and are secret. It was only ten years ago that I actually got my own service papers!

see post 7 from Grumpy on this thread - tells you what B1 was http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=154834

You also have to remember that it is possible that we only have part of his papers.

Regards

Steve

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Steve

I understand the fact he signed with the TF and didn't enlist with a service battalion; I really don't have a problem with that. With regard to his E.624 of which I have a copy it clearly states his number being 3226 and rank pte which precedes the renumbering of the TF units and so does not show his 252443 number. The form also clearly states his unit as being 5th (Battalion) Notts & Derby Regmt. His service documents state he was a L/cpl by 1.5.17.

He was transferred to 1/5th 16.3.15 so the E.624 he signed with the 5th reserve predates this move. This indicates he was willing to serve overseas when he attested or certainly before 16.3.15. All of this pre dates the letter of transfer to the DLI on 20.9.17 which to my reading of the documents show a } (curly bracket or brace) which span the list of items referring to the DLI Transfer on 20.9.17.

With regard to all Army papers being secret I do understand that and it would surly mean all army documents such as the papers I have for my Granddad so I pose the question why the need to state a letter is secret in an already secret document?

A quick look at the roll of honour for church Gresley (nearest town to Newhall with an online roll) lists the men as serving mostly with Regiments with no connection with Derbyshire and yet they enlisted in Derby, so maybe he wanted to stay with other men he knew. The roll of honour lists several men that were 1/5th Bn and KIA 1916 this was one of the Bn that my Granddad was initially transferred to but obviously didn’t go with them as he was transferred to 2/5th Bn after only two months. Therefore surly those in the 1/5th had already signed to say they would go overseas and possibly at a similar time to my Granddad when he attested with the 5th Reserves. We already know he was an underground mineworker (Horse Driver) in the 1911 census aged 17. It maybe a simple case of either not being released from his occupation i.e. more useful at home or the fact that in a close knit mining community he may have wanted to serve with his friends. Most of this is speculation of course and I will probably never know. I appreciate that I don’t have all his records as looking through others none seem complete as they are rightly described as the burnt records (Burnt or water damaged). Some are indeed completely missing and lost forever.

The ones I do have suggest he was willing to serve overseas but for some reason didn’t appear to have done so (no written evidence) until 1918. Family history suggests otherwise so I will follow other lines that I have based on fact and family artefacts.

I am simply trying to find out more about my Granddad who served his country in a very different time to the one we view with our 21st century eyes and the benefit of hindsight. I think we need to be mindful of inferring things about men that are not able to defend themselves 100 years later.

Regards

Dave

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Sorry I was getting confused between the letter and the E624. We have to remember that these forms were written by clerical staff at home and different units seem to use different terminology etc. Even MIC's are sometimes given with extra info, sometimes not. Dates of arriving in theatre are sometimes given, sometimes not and from 1916 not at all. I think the writing on John's is actually a date - 10/11/21.

Mostly men would already have been in the TF and could sign for overseas service (many did not or could to start with) They only signed to serve at home in the TF.

The only way to be sure is if the 'secret' letter survived.

I never look at things through 21st century eyes and I have many cases of family history saying one thing and the truth being different. I gave a choice - he was either unfit for active service to begin with 'B1' and his service history shows he did not serve overseas until 1918 or there is some other reason.

Men who joined up with the N&D came from all over the country but as many worked in the mines, they may have been living in Derbyshire at the time.

The 5th reserves were formally the 3/5th formed in Derby on 29/3/1915 and did not become 5th reserve battalion until 8/4/1916, therefore according to his enlistment papers he was in a battalion from October 1914 that did not exist. This is why I mention that papers are sometimes a pain to understand. I read it as him not being called up until march 1915 when he joined the 1/5th. He then spent just over a month with 2/5th prior to his attachment to 9th Bn (home) for 18 months. We know he had chest trouble but nothing in the papers say what, why or how he got it. Was it from the start of his service or when he was in the front line in France. We will probably never know. He received a pension for chest trouble which seems to be attributable and /or aggravated by service - maybe he was gassed or living in trenches made his chest problems worse.

Some of the leaders did not think much of the TF and much preferred volunteers in 'service' battalions.

Hopefully his letter will come to light.

War memorials - I have seen men mentioned on numerous memorials -The place born, living, once lived, family live there, worked there. The myth that men joined their local regiment is just that. men got sent to units who needed them. Early on men joining the 'service' battalions would have had some choice as regiments expanded quickly but later it was 'go where you are sent'.

I never (or rarely) infer but do know that men refused to serve overseas and often family tales and the truth are not always the same. I do not think I said that about John as we know he served overseas in 1918 and may have been wounded/injured or Ill then. Any man or women who went through the World War 1 always has my deepest admiration but they were human and sometimes things became blurred!

Good luck in your search.

Regards

Steve

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Are you able to say, from your research, what was happening when 'my man' was killed ??

Hi Graeme

Have you ever seen this post in the forum http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=81249&hl= look at post 3 there is a word doc entitled second line 6th Battalion DLI. Well worth reading if you haven't come across this before. its not specific to the date you were looking for but may explain why the deaths occured. They weren't in camp or on Garrison Guard. I learnt quite a lot, it dosen't provide the full story but certainly makes things clearer.

Regards

Dave

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  • 3 weeks later...

Having done some research into a few opinions I present the following



The 5th reserves were formally the 3/5th formed in Derby on 29/3/1915 and did not become 5th reserve battalion until 8/4/1916, therefore according to his enlistment papers he was in a battalion from October 1914 that did not exist.

I have several mens papers which also quote the 5th (Reserve) Bn Notts & Derby Regiment proir to 8/4/1916. I also have evidence that the drill hall where my Granddad attested was the base for the 5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment) (H Co.) ; haed quarters, The Drill hall, Capt. T.C. Newbold ; Sergt. S. Yeomans, drill instructor

5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment) (H Co.) ; haed quarters, The Drill hall, Capt. T.C. Newbold ; Sergt. S. Yeomans, drill instructor as quoted in Kelly's 1912.

Further evidence suggests that the word "Reserve" was used in many instances http://www.1914-1918.net/reserve.htm

There is also evidence in the Nottingham Evening Post 3/5/15 which states that the 5th Notts and Derbyshire Reserve departed from swanwick, Alfreton to Luton, Lt col Maurice Hunter was in command of the Battalion.

All the above is evidence enough for me that the 5th Reserve existed prior to 8/4/16 and that my Granddad's papers are correct.

Your Grandfather could have enlisted in a 'service' battalion (Kitchener's volunteers) in August but instead went to a TF battalion were he did not have to serve overseas. It is impossible to say when he signed his E.624.

My Grandad Attested on 30/10/14 and the E.624 signed by him which states at the time he was with the 5th (Reserve) Bn Notts and Derby Regiment although the date is missing is signed by the commanding officer Col M Hunter. As My Granddad had transferred to the 1/5th on 16/3/15 and Lt col Maurice Hunter had been seconded commanding the 29th provisional Bn 10/8/15 I conclude that he signed the E.624 while still with the 5th Reserve as stated on his papers. As for why he enlisted with a TF Bn rather than a "service" Bn there is evidence to suggest that men thought that they would be sent to the front quicker by joining the TF http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/great-war-on-land/britain-allies/3051-did-kitcheners-decision-to-raise-his-qnew-armiesq-carelessly-wreck-the-pre-war-plans-to-achieve-smooth-and-effective-british-military-expansion.html

There is also evidence that the 1/5th Bn Notts and Derby were among the first to land in France on 25/2/15. What is unknown is wether my Granddad went to join them on 16/3/15 or not. Wounded, injured or ill before joining the front line are all possibilities. These events seem more logical than being unfit from the start.

With regard to the "seceret" letter of transfer to the 2/6th DLI from the 21st Bn Notts and Derbyshire Rgmt, either there were lots of admin / secretarial staff in the battalion as was suggested or as I have found from the sample of men's records on Ancestry that it appears the whole of the men fit for the frontline were transferred in what was actually a seceret letter that someone really did want to keep seceret.

This is more to his story than first suggested.

Dave

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I have several mens papers which also quote the 5th (Reserve) Bn Notts & Derby Regiment proir to 8/4/1916.

For a brief period the 2nd line battalions were officially known as reseve Bn's - after this period they were renamed as 2nd line Bn's (i.e 2/X Bn ). The nomenclature was changed several times.

Craig

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I've only quickly scanned this post…..

The 2/5th was often referred to the 5th Reserve in early October 1914, before the 2/5th Designation became official. You can also see this for 6th Res and 2/6th.

The 5th Reserve started to be used again in June 1915 when the 3/5th and 3/6th Battalions merged.

With regards to the transfer of men from the 21st Battalion to other Battalions/Regiments in September 1917. This occurred because the 21st Battalion was disbanded.

I know of 120 men who transferred from the 21st Battalion to the 15th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on the 23rd September 1917 (VIA the 2/7th Battalion on 15th/19th September).

Interspersed amongst these are the men that transferred to the 2/6th DLI on the 20th September.

There are also numerous men that were transferred to the Territorial Reserve at that time and discharged at a later date.

There appears to be no pattern in who was transferred to what Battalion/Regiment (i.e. 15th N&D or 2/6th DLI), but clearly the men that went to the TF Reserve were not fit - many had previously served in France 1915-6 and had been sick/wounded.

For example:-

331103 Sheppard went to the 2/7th & 15th N&D on 15th & 23rd September respectively

331099 Redfern went to the 2/6th DLI on the 20th September

I can't see why any of this would have been kept secret at the time………….

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Another quick thought about John Brown…….

You already know that he only served OVERSEAS with the 2/6th Battalion.

However, we was transferred to the 1/5th Battalion on the 16th March 1915, which was AFTER the 1/5th Battalion had already left for France.

Well, not all of them, because they actually left the first reinforcement of about 100 men at Braintree (well the 1/6th did…..so I assume that all four Battalions of the Brigade did likewise).

It would seem that John joined this pending 1st Reinforcement (obviously fit enough) and was either sick or injured at this time and had to return to the 2/5th Battn in May 1915. The first reinforcement didn't go to France until June 1915.

Possible ???????????

cheers

Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Mike

Your info confirms details I have found in various documents with regard to my Granddad's movements. One element I have missing is his 21st Bn Notts and Derby 33xxxx number as I beleive he should have this between his original 3226 number and his DLI 252443, do you know if there is any way of finding this out?

With regard to the men that transferred from the 21st Notts and Derby, do the surviving service records of the 120 men that transferred to the 15th bn Sherwood Foresters show anything other than a normal looking entry for the transfer?. I ask because I have looked at 45 records of men that transferred to the 2/6th DLI and all those that came from the 21st Bn Notts and Derby have the same entry that states "letter (seceret)". Of the men transferred to other N&D Battalions they do not have this entry. I am at present only scratching the surface of the vast number of records but this sample so far only seems to affect the transfer to the 2/6th DLI. Its not conclusive proof and I appreciate that I will probably never know but I question why the transfer states "seceret". It can't be a common entry because nobody seems to know why it is there.

Regards

Dave

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Hi Dave

All of the 21st to 2/7th to the 15th are pretty standard transfers as below:-

post-4619-0-07681500-1401877968_thumb.jp

With regards to 3226 John Brown - if I had to guess then I would say his number was either 330869 or 330870 or anything after 331266.

I can email you an excel sheet that shows all of the men (~450) on the Notts & Derby Medal Roll with a 33**** number - there are some patterns to be seen (hence above guess).

Or download it from here http://derbyshireterritorials.wordpress.com/21st-battalion/

I certainly agree that it's a very interesting difference between the 2/6th DLI entry and every other transfer………I hope you get the bottom of it……would love to know the reason!

cheers

Mike

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